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Cybercrime: You have until October to enjoy freedom on social media.

The High Court has extended the suspension of 26 contentious sections of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act which would have seen social media users jailed for

20 years.

Justice Wilfrida Okwany extended the orders to October 1, following an application by the government to have the sections lifted pending determination of the suit.

The extension will allow social media users enjoy freedom of expression.

The government argued that the suspension ordered by Justice Chacha Mwita in May was erroneous as it was heard and determined exparte.

Bloggers Association of Kenya filed a notice of preliminary objection, saying lifting the suspension of the sections would spell doom to the 51 million internet users.

'The Attorney General's loyalty should be to the Constitution and seeking to protect, promote and uphold constitutional values, rather than to implement the Act of the Parliament,' the bloggers said.

The AG said the suspension sought by Bake is based on fears that online users will be arrested and charged for using an unconstitutional Act, yet nobody has been arrested.

Interested party Article 19, through lawyer Demas Kiprono, said Section 5 of the Act is trying to reintroduce the device management system found unconstitutional by the High Court in another case.

The bloggers filed an application in May, saying the law infringes on freedom of expression and muzzles members.

In the past, the state used criminal libel to punish journalists, but it was declared unconstitutional and nullified in February 2017. The association and its members took issue with 26 sections of the new law, which it now wants nullified.

The court was asked to suspend the coming into force of the 26 sections of the cyberbullying law pending determination of the case.

The new law introduces offences such as publication of false information, cyber harassment, unauthorised interference and interception.

These offences, Bake says, are phrased so vaguely that it is impossible to tell the conduct targeted by the law.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Jul 5, 2018
Words:378
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